More teenagers can get access to discounted bus fares after a new agreement was reached between bus companies and local authorities.
Anyone under the age of 19 is now entitled to discounted fares on all Arriva, Go North East and Stagecoach Services in Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham.
These changes make the ticketing offer for young people more consistent across the North East Combined Authority (NECA) area and allows those who must now stay in education until the age of 18 to access discounted bus fares.
Prior to these changes the eligibility for young person’s discounts had varied widely between the different bus companies.
NECA led a working group with bus operators to look at ways to offer simpler fares and good value travel for young people who rely on public transport to get around for school, college and leisure activities.
Member and the deputy leader of Newcastle City Council, Coun Joyce McCarty, chaired a task and finish group which worked towards securing the improved fare deal for young people.
Coun McCarty said: “I welcome this collaborative approach with the bus operators, which has secured a better deal for young people who rely on buses to get around. We want to encourage young people to use buses and simplifying the ticket offer will help in that.
“Young people themselves lobbied hard to get us to look at this, so I am delighted with this response.
“A standardised age range for young person’s discounts is absolutely the right approach and I’m delighted that we’ve achieved that.”
Kevin Carr, the chair of the North East Bus Operators' Association (NEBOA) and managing director at Go North East, said: “The introduction of a streamlined approach to ticketing for young people across the region is widely welcomed.
"We hope this will encourage more young people to choose to travel by bus as an accessible, cost effective and environmentally-friendly option.”
Go North East has been offering a £1 single for all those aged 18 and under since September 2016.
Arriva North East and Stagecoach are now following suit and have introduced a new range of tickets for young people.
Stagecoach will now offer a maximum £1 single for young people who are under 19 and live in Tyne and Wear.
Arriva North East will be introducing a new Young Person’s Saver, including a discounted day ticket for young people who are aged under 19. Both operators will accept each other’s ID – a Stagecoach VIP card or an Arriva Teen Card.